As the technology industry has become more pervasive, the role of channel partners in the business ecosystem has transformed. From being traditional sellers only, the role now encompasses consultation as well. Identifying needs, solving problems and selling experience are the needs of the hour.
Today companies are investing to train, up-skill and re-skill their partners to help them keep pace with the ever-changing demands of the market. It is extremely important to educate the partners on an ongoing basis and getting partners the right tools to sell the products. In this era of deep and ever-changing nature of technology, choosing the right partner becomes extremely important.
Channel partners not only provide you with an extended reach but also helps understand the market, especially in deeper pockets. They help identify recent market demands and trends and most importantly, are the face of the company across the country. But choosing the right partner is not easy. There are certain criteria which must be kept in mind before you chose a partner.
So, what should you keep in mind before choosing the right channel partner?
Domain expertise: It is the age of specialization, and not generalisation. It is crucial to consider this when you are choosing your channel partner. Every partner has a speciality, whether that be selling visualization solutions in tier II markets or the right clientele for a product. If a partner can add deep domain expertise, they will be able to extend your product to a specific market or vertical, thus adding to your advantage. This, in turn, allows the partner to carve out defendable space where they operate and develop competitive advantages.
Willing to learn about your business: Most partners are sales fanatics. All they are focused on is earning the margins and meeting more and more clients. But as said above, the market dynamics have changed and due to the massive adoption of technology, channel partners must move to a consulting role and understand solutions and services. Additionally, most partners are multi-branded and hence spend less amount of time understanding your business. It is quintessential in today’s competitive world, that the partner understands not only the product, but the overall business as well.
Comprehensive strategy in place: Transformation is no more a buzz word, it’s a reality today. As businesses around are transforming, channel partners need to evolve to be relevant. The 21st century is about understanding technology, deploying the right one and ROI. Hence it is important for partners to realize this and have a comprehensive strategy in place to cater to such demands.
Commitment to personal development: We have heard about multiple training and sales session being hosted by businesses to upgrade channel partners. However, it might go in vain if the partner isn’t interested in personal development. Service delivery is a matter of process and organizational structure. People develop and deliver services, but in a complex technology delivery and support environment, having a properly documented process and decision hierarchy is critical. So is an organization’s ability to prove to customers that their employee skill sets are adequate to the task.
The future of India’s channel ecosystem
As we enter an economy driven by technology and experiences, it is important for channel partners to invest in driving experiences. The rise of the experience economy, coupled with the redefining of customer expectations, is truly transforming the channel across the globe. Channel partners must work towards leveraging new innovation and technologies within the network - and beyond - to capitalise, delivering expertise through artificial intelligence, analytics and automation. In a data-driven market, executing on such potential will form the basis of differentiation for an increasingly competitive channel ecosystem.
It is now essential that we and the partner ecosystem work together towards enabling brighter outcomes!
The author, Ramya Chatterjee is the Director – Sales (Visualization & Entertainment) at Barco India.
Disclaimer: This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the contributing authors and not of IDG Media and its editor(s).